YELLOWFISH WORKING GROUP - YWG October Newsletter
Apologies for not publishing a September newsletter but we ran out of news for the month.
For October we are providing a summary of yellowfishing news from around the country.
- Magalies/Blaaubank/Upper Crocodile: Wayne Sinclair reports that these largescale/smallscale rivers have been good for the last year. Last summer’s rains have provided a steady flow in his section of the Magalies. The Blaaubank which was badly polluted several years ago has recovered and the Kloofzicht section now has a healthy population of fish. What is concerning is that the illegal stocking many years ago of Orange/Vaal yellows in the upper Crocodile may have resulted in hybridization.
- Middle Vaal: Ian Couryer says that after the rain the flow went up to 60 cusecs but dropped fairy quickly and at 40 cusecs wading will be possible at most places. Visibility might be a problem but provided it is better than 10cm this will be OK. Plenty of muddies and carp have been spawning. Prior to this rain the river was clearing nicely and fishing well after being unusually discoloured for the winter/early spring period. A good flush is probably what the river required as there was bad pollution from Parys sewage works and at Vaal de Solleih further downstream.
We have also had reports of good fishing on private properties above the Vaal Dam prior to the rains. Dirty water may be a problem now so check before you visit this section.
- Lower Vaal, Riet & Lower Orange: The lower Vaal has not been in a happy state for some time due to pollution and a decant of nutrients from irrigated farmlands.
The Riet on the other hand, although low, has been very clear and fishing well.
Van der Kloof Dam and the Orange below it has been discoloured for an extended period probably due to large releases of water from Gariep. Apparently both the VDK dam and the river below are clearing well.
- Elands River below Waterval Boven and the Komati River: Both these rivers are in a relatively good state and were prime yellowfishing venues especially during dry periods, but we have had no news about these rivers for the last couple of years. Can anyone update us on these rivers?
- Sterkfontein Dam: With the mini heatwave of September it was hoped that fishing would start towards the end of October, but the recent cold front has probably put this date back into November. The dam is not full again but is looking far better than November 2016. Bass and wading through yellows on spawning beds remain a problem.
- Lesotho: With the recent heavy rain and snow the Bokong and other rivers are now in spate. Although the Katse Dam is low it is now also being fed by the Mohale Dam tunnel so levels are rising. The first fishing party for the season at Tourette’s Makhangoa Community Camp arrives in mid-November. A good migration of yellows up the Bokong and other rivers should start shortly.
- NE Cape highlands: The trout streams of the Kraai River system are all in spate as in the case of Lesotho. The yellows will be moving upstream into all the tributaries to make an interesting addition to the trout fishing.
- SE Mpumalanga/Northern KZN: Horst Filter, after a very good winter season for smallscale and largescale on the Phongola and Assegai rivers, has discontinued fishing as the yellows are now in spawning mode. The same applies to the Pivane which he says maintains a good population of yellows. Problems include an expanding bass population and the curse of illegal netting in sections of the river which are poorly policed.
- Tugela system: The middle Tugela below Colenso has been plagued by dirty water and pollution emanating from Ladysmith but Greg Maxwell (083 3805179) says the smaller tributaries up in the catchment produced some great Natal yellows (scaly) during winter. These streams muddy after summer downpours but clear very quickly. The fish are already moving out of the deeper pools into the rapids to spawn so Greg asks that anglers do not target spawners or trample spawning beds.
- Midmar & the Midlands rivers: There is now a heavy flow of Umgeni River into Midmar Dam at the Cascades which has been reinforced by water transferred from the Mooi River system. This Mooi River water is very cold as it is taken at depth from the new Spring Grove Dam. The result is that the movement of yellows to the Cascades might be delayed. The Cascades has always been a popular fishing venue as migrating yellows move into this area in summer but we hear that this area has been fenced off by KZN Wildlife.
As heavy rains have fallen in the Midlands we expect most yellowfish (scaly) sections of the rivers to be too discoloured for flyfishing until autumn.
- Southern KZN: There was an excellent spring period which lasted up to the onset of recent rains. These rains have now transformed the Umkomaas into a brown torrent and good flyfishing may be delayed until the river clears in autumn. The same will apply to the lower Umzimkulu.
- Fish & Kei River systems. There is some good fishing in these systems which have been populated by smallmouths mainly through water transfer from the Gariep Dam. In summer time Alan Hobson frequently takes clients to the Little Fish or nearby dams. The Klipplaat, Thomas and Kubusie Rivers are worth trying and clear quickly, but the lower Kei which boasts some large fish has remained dirty through winter and is unfishable after these rains.
- Gourits River System: Smallmouths were introduced into this river about 50 years ago by the previous Cape Administration and have thrived ever since. The Cape Piscatorial Society has arranged visits to the Calitzdorp Dam in the past year but apparently this dam is currently very low.
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